Threats on the Campus of YSU

By Courtney Hibler

According to a social media post, some Youngstown State University students received envelopes from a man on campus on Oct. 31 with unexpected instructions inside.

These instructions explained one thing: how to build a nuclear bomb.

William Rogner, a YSU police officer, said officers were dispatched to campus upon learning of the situation.

“Once it was found what the individual was distributing and police were able to identify the subject, it was found there was no threat to campus or students,” he said.

Rogner said if it were a true threat to campus, officers would act immediately to take care of the situation and the campus community would be notified through Penguin Alert.

Kati Hartwig, social media and digital marketing coordinator at YSU, said students are inclined to take to social media and document when a threat happens. She encourages students to immediately notify campus police rather than posting to social media.

“We often forget just how many people are tuned into what we’re saying and how far that message can spread,” Hartwig said. “Information can get lost in translation and panic may arise.”

Hartwig said sending information to her or YSU Police as soon as possible can help in researching the incident and see if it’s a legitimate threat.

“We’re so appreciative of the students that have been responsive when we’ve messaged them about tweets they’ve posted regarding an occurrence on campus,” she said. “Many students feel that certain situations may not warrant a call to campus police, but that’s not the case at all.”

“I can’t stress enough how important it is to report any issues, threats or uneasy situations to YSU police,” Hartwig continued.

Rogner said to make sure all information is accurate before making a post to social media.

“Posting inaccurate information can actually hinder police investigations and cause unnecessary panic,” he said. “Calling the YSU Police directly will guarantee an immediate response.”

The YSU CARE (Concern, Assessment, Referral, Education) Team is another resource students can use if they believe there is a threat on campus.

The goal of the CARE Team is to address behavioral concerns that may impact the campus learning environment in a negative way and potentially harm the health, welfare or safety of the campus community.

Nicole Kent-Strollo, chair of the CARE Team and director of student outreach and support at YSU, said she wasn’t aware of the threat when it happened and it’s crucial for students to contact university officials.

Rogner, along with faculty and staff from housing, student conduct, YSU Counseling and the Center for Student Progress all make up the members of the CARE TEAM.

“We meet weekly to discuss various issues affecting students and implement methods to assist them,” Rogner said.

Rogner said campus safety is everyone’s job and to look out for one another.

“What makes the YSU Campus such a great place to learn and work is our sense of family,” he said. “We are a tight-knit community and the YSU Police rely on the students, faculty and staff to make it the incredible and safe campus that it is.”

The YSU Police Department is available 24 hours a day and can be reached at (330) 941-3527. Students and faculty can also dial 911 from any campus telephone and be directly connected to YSU police.